Every April, conservative social groups rally against the Day of Silence, when students across the country protest anti-LGBT bullying by remaining silent while at school. Now, though, they are hypocritically endorsing a silent protest against a woman’s right to get an abortion, known as the Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity. Jeremy Tedesco of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) explains that a silent protest is free speech:
TEDESCO: Students have First Amendment rights to engage in speech activities. Certainly remaining silent to raise awareness about a social issue qualifies. […] I think the most important thing is to understand that school officials think that the abortion issue is sensitive and could be offensive to people. And lots of times, school officials just wrongly think that they can shut down a speech activity because they think it’s going to be offensive to someone.
That same organization, ADF, sought to “shatter the silence” of GLSEN’s Day of Silence (DoS), instead encouraging “dialogue” — in particular, the faulty idea that homosexuality is a choice. Other anti-gay groups chastise the DoS as “evil propaganda” and “child abuse,” calling on schools to ban it because it’s simply a “cover for the promotion of homosexuality.” A coalition of groups, including the American Family Association and Liberty Counsel, encourage parents to remove their students from school that day, emphasizing that students “do NOT have a right to remain silent during class time if a teacher asks you to speak.”
But for the issue of abortion, this form of protest is perfectly acceptable “with teachers’ permission.” This dichotomy is the perfect example of conservatives’ hypocrisy: attempting to inhibit speech they disagree with but protect it when they support it.